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University in Chains: Confronting the Military-industrial-academic Complex (The Radical Imagination) Paperback – June 20, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


I know of no more acute a commentator on higher education in the United States today. Henry Giroux's passion for education fires his powerful critique of the university, as it becomes more and more in thrall to big money and to the military. While Giroux's analysis is profound and unsparing, his book concludes with an imaginative strategy to transform the university into a truly democratic institution. --Howard Zinn

Henry Giroux is a tribune for democracy. He sees universities as democratic public spheres that must be defended in the repressive aftermath of 9/11. His new book is a tool we need to get the job done. --Ira Shor, CUNY Graduate School

Henry Giroux has been like a canary in the mine of U.S. culture when he sends an alert, you know something is really amiss. If you have worked or studied in one of our universities, this is essential reading. --Toby Miller, author of Cultural Citizenship

About the Author

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. He has published numerous books and articles and his most recent books include America’s Educational Deficit and the War on Youth (2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (2014). The Toronto Star has named Henry Giroux one of the twelve Canadians changing the way we think! Read the article here: Twelve Canadians Changing the Way We Think

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Product Details

  • Series: The Radical Imagination
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; First Edition edition (June 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594514232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594514234
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. morris on August 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Henry Giroux's latest is a crucial contribution to our understanding of US culture, US politics and US education in an increasingly militarized society.

"The University in Chains" is a stunning tour-de-force that rigorously examines the multi-tiered military, corporate and right-wing assaults on the university and culture. Giroux writes with a clarity and urgency that is riveting; his impassioned concern for education, human rights and meaningful democracy is inspiring; and, importantly, his critical insights into how we can break the chains and transform the university into a substantive democratic public space committed to providing students and citizens with tools and skills to address our most pressing problems are empowering and necessary.

The book is essential reading for everyone inside and outside the academy concerned with the increasing and foreboding militarization of the world, the corporate takeover of every corner of human life, and the narrowing ideological impositions of right-wing "super-patriot" fundamentalists. The book moves crucially from critique to a call for intervention and is therefore indispensable for those attentive to the need for fighting back, as well as those interested in matters of pedagogy, public education, social justice, human rights, and producing a meaningful democratic vision, culture and practice.

The section on "The Necessity of Critical Pedagogy" is an invigorating and powerful statement that brings much depth and meaning to the practice and theory of critical pedagogy. It will help those both familiar and unfamiliar with critical pedagogy gain a deeper grasp, and one hopes, commitment.

If you are a student, teacher, professor, or citizen READ THIS BOOK carefully, and share it widely. It is a vital contribution toward a path to a more decent and meaningful human existence for all.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Teater on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read about this this book in another book and went ahead and bought this one. I would recommend it. The author shows the relationships among the military, corporations and academia. I found much of the situation described by the author, disturbing and at its heart, certainly not conducive to academic freedom. Essentially the author contends that the military and corporations through the use of money and pressure, are taking advantage of the education funding crisis to bend academia to purposes other than a traditional liberal education and open research. In addition, he covered some of the latest attacks on academia and academic freedom of the Christian Nationalist, religious right or what ever you want to call it. To be sure this is written from a left/liberal perspective but the points made should be seriously considered by anyone interested in the place of the university in society.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Adam Fletcher on August 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Henry Giroux has written a book for the ages by daftly examining the impacts and effects of history on America today. Framing his argument with the prophetic words of Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech to the American public, Giroux details the thorough and heinous complicities of current practices and policies throughout the American higher education system in conjunction with those of the military industry. The dubiousness of the publicly-funded University of Illinois's for-profit campus is given new light through Giroux's famous analysis of the new neoliberalism griping colleges and universities, particularly in light of the ongoing terror of the Bush Administration's Iraq War. Perhaps most powerful are the radical implications Giroux concludes: rather than simply influencing college research or widening the gap between the haves and have nots in America today, the military-industrial-academic complex is destroying the very foundations of American democracy. We have no choice rather than respond; Giroux gives us more than ample reason and recommendations for what to do next.
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16 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ioana Stoica on January 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After the first (and only truly substantive chapter), I would have given this work 4 stars; having (with difficulty) swallowed the next three chapters, I had to revise this rating down to 2 stars.

In the first part of the book, Giroux makes a compelling argument that institutionalized forms of academics have succumbed to the national security state and to a mythico-masculine idealization of American imperialism. Giroux writes that this military-industrial-academic complex has taken over American universities, that the intersection of corporatism and militarization legitimizes and normalizes a constant state of terror/fear (especially embodied in our culture since 9/11), and that the academy is a contested terrain in which such struggles manifest in a unique and singular way.

Though this first part is clearly rooted in an Enlightenment-democracy-model of education and thus has its agenda and ideological orientation, it's not ostentatiously polemical. The second part, however, degenerates rapidly into polemical rantings: he complains that Horowitz speaks in "sweeping monolithic terms" of "the Left", while speaking in sweeping monolithic terms of the "formidable alliance of far-right-wing foundations", conservative talk-show hosts, thinktanks, and the like. He bemoans that the "right" uses a rhetoric of fear and terror, while urging us to consider his argument on terms that engender fear (this is, after all, a "dark time", characterized by "dark" forces that threaten democracy and all that is good in America, and so on). In other words, Giroux uses the language and rhetoric of the "right" in his "leftist" rant, and is thus not any more "academic" or "professional" in his tone than those he so adamantly condemns.
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